The newly rebranded Miami Marlins will hit the road for the first time in MLB betting action on Thursday afternoon when they take on the Cincinnati Reds at the Great American Ballpark.
Matters didn’t get off the greatest start in the world for the Marlins in the first game in their new park, as they were no-hit for six innings by the St. Louis Cardinals in their first game of the campaign. Their offense is going to be a heck of a lot better than that as the season wears on, but it wasn't the start to the year that was ideal to say the least. Now, the team has to get right on an airplane and get ready for a game on a short turnaround time in the Queen City. Mark Buehrle is going to be making his debut with his new team in this one. Buehrle had been a member of the Chicago White Sox for his entire career, but when Manager Ozzie Guillen left for South Beach, the southpaw came with him. Buehrle has had at least 13 wins in each of the last four seasons, and he figures to bring that type of consistency with him to Miami this year as well. His 161 career wins is tops on the staff, and that veteran leadership is what this team really needs if it wants to compete in the stacked NL East this year.
Meanwhile, it is Opening Day for the Reds, and they have a lot of high hopes for this season. The team just opened up its wallet and committed over $200M to Joey Votto for the next dozen years, a move that very well could be questioned, knowing that the team's first baseman is accounting for over 20% of its full team salary this year. All eyes are going to be on Votto when he is at the plate, but the man that really needs to come up big in this one is Johnny Cueto. The righty only went 9-5 last year, but he once again showed in his 24 starts that he has the stuff to be one of the most electric pitchers that the game has to offer. Cueto had a 2.31 ERA, and batters only hit .220 against him. Against the Marlins in his career though, Cueto has had some problems. He does have a 1-0 record in those three starts, but his ERA of 5.63 leaves a lot to be desired. Of course, the next big question is in the Cincinnati bullpen, where Ryan Madson is out for the season now that he needs Tommy John's surgery.
The Final Word: We think that the Marlins are going to be consistently overrated at the outset of the season, and especially on a short trip this early in the season, we think that the offense could once again struggle in this one against a great pitcher. Cueto is the better arm of the two, and though Buehrle has been consistent over the course of his career, we think that his debut in the National League isn't going to go all that well.
Miami Marlins @ Cincinnati Reds Pick: Cincinnati Reds